Flaunting the same highly-capable optics found in the original S8, the Active packs a 12-megapixel, optically-stabilized sensor in back with an 8-megapixel shooter in front. Both have the shooting modes we’re used to seeing on the latest Samsungs, including a depth-of-field effect, which works well on both sensors. Although you can edit the effect after the fact, this is limited to a three-mode selection. Near Focus gives you the bokeh you intended, while Far Focus applies blur to the foreground image and sharpens the background, and Pan Focus applies focus to all areas, with no blur at all. No slider exists to adjust blur as seen in the Note 8’s Live Focus feature.

Regular pictures taken on the front-facing camera come out generally well-exposed, with good detail. Selective focus works well here too, though the sensors strength in properly exposing and focusing an entire shot is also readily apparent.

The rear-facing camera is an excellent low-light performer, catching details equal to the best in the biz, and exceeding them in pulling out accurate, vibrant colors from the shadows. While not the absolute best in toning down hotspots within scenes containing light and dark areas – the iPhone 7 seems to beat it there – the S8 Active may take the crown (or rather share it with its Galaxy brethren) for capturing color in low-light and maintaining sharp details with little noise throughout. For our money, we’d rather have a couple slight hotspots than an entire area of color-less darkness.

Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active 1.3
Samsung Galaxy S8 1.2
Samsung Galaxy S7 Active 1.5
LG G6 1.7

Video Quality

Dual-pixel produces the same exquisite results in focusing real-time video. If you’ve never seen it in action, please make sure to check the sample video to see its great capability, as it focuses objects instantaneously. Optical image stabilization also makes it mark here, keeping videos smooth and balanced, , though it does suffer from a bit of shutter-roll, as well as a peculiar image wobble at the end of pans. Video quality, much like image quality, is also quite good here. Details are crisp, movement looks good, and colors are generally well-represented.


By now we’re all aware of the growing pains encountered with the proliferation of extra-tall “bezel-less” displays. To recap, these taller displays present an issue for video formatting due to their awkward aspect ratios. This leads to situations where videos are cropped, stretched, or letterboxed to accommodate these displays. In the instance of the Galaxy S8 Active, the aspect ratio is 18.5x9 – the same as the original S8 – and all of the above methods are incorporated to remedy this. Videos produced in a 2:1 ratio are your best friend here, but even those will leave you with black bars on the top and bottom, though not on the sides. This is simply the price to pay for such tall screens. YouTube, at least, has begun auto-fitting compatible 2:1 videos to your screen, but content in this format is still very sparse.

Listening to music on the Active will be a better experience than on most phones. The loudspeaker is not only loud, but also fuller and less tinny than comparable flagships. Samsung’s typically excel in this area, and thankfully the S8 Active continues in this tradition.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active 0.76
Samsung Galaxy S8 0.75
Samsung Galaxy S7 Active 0.67
LG G6 0.78
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active 75.5
Samsung Galaxy S8 78
Samsung Galaxy S7 Active 75.7
LG G6 74



3. black.inco unregistered

It's a heavier phone than the normal S8? I mean......

13. Carlitos

Posts: 670; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Lmaoo right, is it not its purpose? It's suppose to be rugged so being heavier that the regular s8 is a given. What kind of petty con is that?

21. black.inco unregistered

That's my thought exactly. That gave me a little laugh because I feel like the reviewer is a little sissy.

34. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

PA's Review system is flaw I am glad I was not they only one to see that. "its a heavier phone.." Duh!!11 as you stated it's a rugged version it has to have heft. So now being heavy is a con for a rugged model? I cant comprehend PA's reviews at all. There is no objectivity they need to establish a grading system that treats and grades all features and non features the same then they could be honest fair reviews. I mean you cant call one thing a "con" for one vendor but a "pro" for another vendor and vise versa.

60. LiveFaith

Posts: 475; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Good point. The next review will say "This phone is heavier than it's predecessor giving it that solid and premium feel". LOL. I personally prefer phones lighter the better. But, it's hilarious to me how reviewers come up with these arbitrary "quality" factors. Especially "premium" materials like aluminum and glass. Crap, has anyone every thought about how ancient both of those materials are for use on modern technology? Jewelry, well that's different.

26. DoggyDangerous

Posts: 1028; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

Lg v30 has waterproofing and military grade certification without being active. I wonder if people are still purchasing active series.

33. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1061; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Yes because Samsung > LG.

61. LiveFaith

Posts: 475; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Gosh, I couldn't bear to have to carry around all that "active" if I didn't have to? LOL! Are you saying that offering LESS choices for customers is a better thing?

4. haruken

Posts: 306; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

'and viola' It's voilà. Might want to stick to english next time.

5. PhoneInQuestion

Posts: 496; Member since: Aug 20, 2017

I got to play with the S8 Active at a Sprint store (walking distance #notmycarrier), boy is it light but oh so satisfying. This is how a premium smartphone should feel.

10. Landon

Posts: 1245; Member since: May 07, 2015

This is music to my ears. Hopefully it will be coming to Verizon.

6. sissy246

Posts: 7120; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

My son just got the new active, can't wait for his thoughts on it. He has had every active.

7. dnomadic

Posts: 416; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I think you all should come with a standard scoring system... Have your customers, we that view your site daily to comment on the standard then finalize it. Standards that aren't skewed towards a Manufacturer and apply across the board... Rate each section then average the scores... The scores are applied with no methodology other than what I feel. I know it doesn't matter, but it concerns me....

11. ahmadkun

Posts: 591; Member since: May 02, 2016


19. dmomintz

Posts: 68; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

A little disappointing to see the battery life go down since my Active S6, but that screen and camera are unmatched, not to mention I can't not take my phone in the shower now lol (spoiled), so I would never get anything less than IP68. The very fact that iphones still run basically the same iOS from 2008 with a focus on emoticons (seriously apple smh) means they should never get rated better than an 8 out of 10 in my opinion, regardless of the design or build quality. There is just zero innovation and they are overpriced children's toys compared to this beauty. The Active is a real man's product with top notch quality, and hopefully the AT&T exclusivity ends soon so more people can see for themselves.

20. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 375; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

Shocked a non samsung flagship received such a high score

40. g2a5b0e unregistered

I don't see how you can say it's not a flagship. That's literally exactly what it is. Don't let the "active" moniker confuse you.

24. LiveFaith

Posts: 475; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Wish my Note 8 came ruggedized like this. Great phone.

50. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Simply grab this Beyond Cell trishield case and you're set:

62. LiveFaith

Posts: 475; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Dayadgum, that's a beast.

28. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 375; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

design wise it looks really good. Ideal for those that want a flat screen S8 with big battery life.

31. gamehead unregistered

If it gets android oreo and a price reduction like the regular s8 count me interested

36. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Over 100, no?

42. killer7D

Posts: 551; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

The backdated S8 active is better than the Note 8 ????????

54. kakudiego

Posts: 123; Member since: May 21, 2014

If the S8 has a 9, S8 Active deserve a 9.5

56. Modest_Moze

Posts: 184; Member since: Mar 23, 2015

IT IS HEAVIER THAN THE S8, HEAVIER THAN S8, HEAVIER THAN S8... Come on... LIKE IT OR NOT this is not a very good CON and LIKE IT OR NOT it is heavier, because it is RUGGED, RUGGED!!!!!!! RUGGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

63. LiveFaith

Posts: 475; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Heavier is baaad. Heavier on an iPhone is premium! :-D

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Galaxy S8 Active
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh(32h talk time)

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